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J Neurochem. 2004 Aug;90(3):702-11.

UCN-01 alters phosphorylation of Akt and GSK3beta and induces apoptosis in six independent human neuroblastoma cell lines.

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Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


In this study we evaluated UCN-01, a small molecule that inhibits protein kinases by interacting with the ATP-binding site, as a potential anti-cancer agent for neuroblastoma. UCN-01 was effective at inducing apoptosis in six neuroblastoma cell lines with diverse cellular and genetic phenotypes. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end-labeling (TUNEL) assays, detection of active caspase-3 and cleaved poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) confirmed that UCN-01 induced apoptosis. Cell cycle analysis determined that the UCN-01 treated cells accumulated in S phase by 16 h. Unlike vinblastine and docetaxel that increased survivin expression, UCN-01 treatment did not increase X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) and survivin levels. Analysis of specific phosphoepitopes on chk1/2, Akt, and GSK3beta following UCN-01 treatment determined that there was no significant change in phospho-chk1/2. However, there was decreased immunoreactivity at Ser473 and Thr308 of Akt and Ser9 of GSK3beta by 4 h indicating that the Akt survival pathway and downstream signalling was compromised. Thus, UCN-01 was effective at inducing apoptosis in neuroblastoma cell lines.

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